Friday, 31 October 2008

Song for Samhain

Remembering the dead

“They will always be there, it is our sight that grows weaker”

Drummer beat the measure slow
Soft the pipes let horns sound low
Then rise to greet all those who come
Drawn now towards us by the drum.

All around they wait for those
Whose sight has faded with their woe
Who cannot hear the loved one’s call
Who weep for those who went before

We bear their love, their pride, their joy
Upon ourselves until that day
When, as the sparks, we too will rise
To join our loved ones in the skies

Then beat the drum and blow the horn
Remember we are always one
With those before and those to come
A universe of light and love.

SJH 1995

At this time of year, when the earth is preparing for the long sleep of winter, I find it helpful to spend time thinking of endings and beginnings. All change is scary, but it is the one constant factor of our lives. Nothing stays the same, no matter how much we wish it to do so.

So many times I find myself paralyzed considering what may happen or what needs to be done, only bringing myself back to normality by realising I don’t have to worry about that particular event or issue at this moment in time. What is important now is what is happening now or what needs to happen to enable me to do the next small thing which has to be completed in the immediate future.

Herbs are great allies in helping me focus. Not just medicinally when I’m feeling emotionally fragile or stressed, but reading or thinking about them helps to calm me down after dealing with a difficult situation.

Last Tuesday night I decided to pamper myself with a long, hot bath after a draining four hour car journey following a workshop where I’d been on my feet for most of the day. My brain decided to target a particularly frustrating argument I wouldn’t be able to engage in and I found myself becoming increasingly agitated rather than relaxed!

Then, out of the blue, I suddenly realised I did have the ingredients to make a nettle and rose petal cordial I’ve been wanting to try for two years. I was so happy, all the negative emotions completely disappeared and I felt sufficiently content and relaxed to fall asleep once I got into bed.

For the second year running, I have no special celebrations to attend this weekend, but I know many family members will be dropping by. There are two large bags of nettle and horseradish roots waiting to be scrubbed clean and processed along with five huge, yellow quinces – the first harvest from my quince tree.

I wish you all a peaceful and contemplative Celtic New Year as we travel together into another new season.


Anonymous said...

Lovely poem Sarah and I so know what you mean about paralyzed where life throws things at us we need to wrestle with. Love the sound of the rose and nettle cordial, take it this time of year it was rosehips?

Also wanted to tell you that you've won an award! Go to my blog and see how to add it to your site and share the love :)


Rowan said...

I really like the poem - it expresses the idea of Samhain perfectly. I do enjoy reading your posts and looking at all the wonderful photographs.

Sarah Head said...

Wow, Debs, thank you! This is my first internet award so it's very exciting!

I haven't made the cordial yet, but I was going to use dried nettles and dried dogrose and apothecary's rose petals as they are still really scented. I did make a nettle latte yesterday mixing half nettle tea and half hot milk with grated nutmeg in it. The result was surprisingly tasty - especially for people who don't like the taste of nettle tea. For those who don't like milk, it also made the milk less cloying.

Rowan, thank you for your kind words. From looking at your blog, you seem a woman after my own heart! You might want to take a look at some of my sister's photos. You can find the flickr link on her blog "Window on the World". She lives in Derbyshire and has some wonderful scenes that she has captured.

Anonymous said...

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Lone Kereru said...

That poem is so beautiful. Warmest good wishes, Wendy (aka Emeline)

Sarah Head said...

Thank you Wendy. The poem has a tune as well and I sing it occasionally.